Spring Thoughts

"Well, at least it was sunny."

The 2014 spring game practice has come and gone. It wasn't that great. It wasn't really a game. It wasn't really fun to watch…whether you were there or watching on TV. The very first play of the scrimmage portion of the day was a Devin Gardner interception.

It never really recovered from there.

For as much as Michigan fans have enjoyed watching the basketball squad win championships and do fun post-season things, Michigan Football has been the little kid in the classroom with his hand raised. But the problem is no one really seems to care.

The issues that plagued this team last season don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
“We’re doing a lot of good things, but we’re not near good enough as a team to win games in the fourth quarter, which we didn’t do (last season), and play on the road,” said Hoke, entering his fourth season. “We’re a long way from being any good."
I hope he's kidding. He's not kidding? He's not kidding.

And there's this
A month and a half ago, Brady Hoke was hoping he'd close spring practice with a rough idea of who his five best offensive linemen were.

But after Saturday's spring game at Michigan Stadium, a rough day overall for the Wolverines' up front, Hoke couldn't give an answer.

"I don't know if we can say that, honestly," Hoke said. "I know I can't.

"So, I guess the answer is no."

Are the Wolverines even close, really, to identifying the best five?

"No," Hoke said. "Not yet." 

MGoblog on the above Hoke quote…
That was apparent on the field, where runs generally got to the line of scrimmage (hooray!) and no further (mutter). Pass protection was close to nonexistent. It was what everyone expected, which was bad. They've got five months to figure it out, whereupon they probably won't figure it out. Digging out of a hole as big as Michigan dug last year is a two-year operation. 
Expectations for 2014 among most fans seem to vary drastically, but they're trending lower than usual. And with good reason. Brady Hoke, in 3 years, has yet to win on the road against a good opponent. Last year, Michigan allowed bad teams to close the gap and overtake in the 4th quarter. They just couldn't finish.

But the consensus among everyone is that for Michigan to regain some of the momentum of Hoke's early success at Michigan, they must be able to run the football effectively. And it all starts with a cohesive offensive line that's up to the job.

As far as what we saw on the field on Saturday…yes, it wasn't great. But I'll concede that spring games generally favor defenses. And in this case, with Michigan installing a brand new offense, it's even more so. Offense is all about timing, defense is all about reaction. And with Michigan's defense weighted heavier with upperclassmen, it's no wonder where the strength of this team lies.

Michigan spring games are never great for the die-hard fan who's looking for a ton of improvement from basically the same guys who didn't do all that great just 3 months ago. Plus, Michigan is never going to trot out a new offensive scheme and show off what all the buttons do.

No, spring games are just what they are. Just another chance for Michigan fans to get their fix…for whatever it's worth.

Now, if we'd like to finally get serious about scheduling a real scrimmage against other schools…then you'll get fans, coaches, players and everyone else excited. 

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